Perspective

Almost every week I come into contact with people who have been misled, thinking that success depends solely upon talent or brilliance or education. But the list doesn’t end there. For some it’s getting the breaks, pulling the right strings, having the right personality, being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, playing their cards right.

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Mortality

Life is so short. We really don’t have many years. And to spend them doing dumb stuff seems like such a waste. I was intrigued several years ago when reading about some ghost towns littered across the plains of Nevada. The writer pointed out that there was every indication between the middle and the end of the 1800s that these towns would flourish forever. There were people by the thousands.

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Resentment

Leo Held was a paragon of respectability. He was a middle-aged, hard-working lab technician who had worked at the same Pennsylvania paper mill for nineteen years. Having been a Boy Scout leader, an affectionate father, a member of the local fire brigade, and a regular church-goer, he was admired as a model in his community. Until . . .

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Insight

Are you ready for a surprise? You blink twenty-five times every minute. Each blink takes you about one-fifth of a second. Therefore, if you take a ten-hour automobile trip, averaging forty miles per hour, you will drive twenty miles with your eyes closed. I know a fact far more surprising than that. Some people go through life with their eyes closed.

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Stumbling

Nothing damages our dignity like stumbling! I have seen people, dressed to the hilt, stumble and fall flat on their faces as they were walking to church. I have witnessed serious and gifted soloists, stepping up to the pulpit with music in hand, stumble and fall as the sheets of music sailed like maple leaves in an October breeze. I’ve watched a sure and winning touchdown by a fleet split-end—nobody within fifteen yards—foiled by a stumble.

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Trophies

He was brilliant. Clearly a child prodigy . . . the pride of Salzburg . . . a performer par excellence. At age five he wrote an advanced concerto for the harpsichord. Before he turned ten he had composed and published several violin sonatas and was playing from memory the best of Bach and Handel. Soon after his twelfth birthday he composed and conducted his own opera . . .

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Does Anyone Care?

ON THAT ICY JANUARY MORNING, in a twenty-five-cent-a-night flophouse, a shell of a man who looked twice his age staggered to the washbasin and fell. The basin toppled and shattered. He was found lying in a heap, unclothed and bleeding from a deep gash in his throat. His forehead was badly bruised, and he was semiconscious.

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Stuck in the Past

PERHAPS YOU’RE FIGHTING an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The specter of a previous hurt haunts your mind and steals your peace. Before you surrender your case as hopeless, consider the liberating evidence of freedom offered in the Bible. Take an honest look at men and women whom God used despite their past regrets.

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The Satisfaction of Being Thorough

I HAVE JUST TAKEN MY Webster’s Dictionary off the shelf and looked up thorough. It means, “carried through to completion, careful about detail, complete in all respects.” Thorough is my kind of word! I learned the importance of being thorough from my parents while growing up in south Texas. Most weren’t so fortunate.

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Running to Win

THE MALCOLM BALDRIGE National Quality Award was awarded many years ago to the iconic Ritz-Carlton Hotels. When I congratulated the owner of that outstanding organization, he told me that they would need to work even harder to earn the respect that comes with the prestigious honor. He also mentioned that the award declares that quality is “a race with no finish line.”

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